Microplastics in Freshwater Environments

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Identification of microplastics in freshwater environments

Principle Investigators: Dr Mark Scrimshaw and Dr Edwin Routledge, Brunel University London

PhD Candidate: Mr Kofi Renner

Microplastics such as polyethylene are used as ingredients in personal care products such as facial scrubs and toothpaste, whose use releases these contaminants through waste treatment plants to the aquatic environment. Waste treatment plants do not the capacity remove these microplastics from waste waters effectively, before discharge to the aquatic environment. The lack of a standardised protocol for the characterisation of microplastics has hindered progress in identifying these contaminants and assessing their impact on the aquatic environment. The benchmark of this PhD study has been to develop a method or a series of methods to characterise microplastics in personal care products, with the aim of identifying them in wastewater effluents and in freshwater environments